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The Steelers and Lions might only play once every four years, but it’s a solid matchup to close Sunday’s action. The Lions fresh off a bye, while the Steelers looking for a three-game winning streak.
The visiting Steelers are a three-point favorite for primetime, and the total is set at 44.5. The OddsShark computer is projecting a 25.9-14.3 Steelers victory, which would result in a Steelers cover and the total finishing under.
The Lions were expecting to come into Sunday night shorthanded, but it appears Golden Tate’s shoulder is healthy enough for him to play. Despite suffering an AC joint sprain, Tate caught all seven of his targets for 96 yards and a score in a shootout loss to the Saints.
The Steelers are also down a receiver, but that move was by design. Martavis Bryant has been demoted to the scout team, a decision handed down after Bryant expressed his frustrations on social media. The Steelers have reiterated that they will not trade Bryant, but for the time being, expect to see more of former USC rookie Juju Smith-Schuster.
Ben Roethlisberger is on the road, and usually means bad news for the franchise QB. Roethlisberger is noticeably worse away from Heinz Field, and the Steelers will look to lean on Le’Veon Bell.
It may be out of conference, but this is a huge game for the Lions. With Aaron Rodgers on the sidelines, the NFC North is up for grabs. The Vikings have jumped out to a 6-2 start, and the Lions can’t risk falling below .500 if they want to chase the division crown.
Despite the offensive weapons, it’s really been the defense carrying the Steelers. Aside from a blowout loss to the Jaguars, the Steelers have not allowed teams to score more than 20 points this season.
That defense, plus an emphasis on Bell, is why I’m taking the Steelers tonight. Feed Bell, keep Stafford off the field, and escape with a road win.
Heavy’s Pick: Steelers 23 Lions 19. Steelers Cover -3 Spread. Under on the Point Total.